Whose Clay Is It?

So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. —Jeremiah 18:3-4 NIV

This morning, I opened my Bible to Jeremiah 18. It’s been quite some time since I’ve studied this book. The two verses above were underlined, so they caught my eye right away. Then my mind traveled back to a day nearly twenty years ago …

It’s a Sunday morning and I’m sitting in church beside my husband—and I’m filled with irritation at him. I shift uncomfortably in my seat, wishing he were different. Martyrdom begins to settle on my shoulders, and I welcome the mantle: I need to be a good wife and put up with his annoying ways. With this newfound sense of self-righteousness, I turn my attention to the sermon. I take out my notebook and pen to focus on the words about to be spoken. I note, with a sidelong glance, what I know to be true. My husband has no notebook. I doubt he’s even trying to focus on the words. Bitter thoughts race through my head.

The pastor has turned to Jeremiah 18. His sermon is on God as the Potter, and he challenges us. Are we willing to be molded by God’s hands? I picture myself supple and yielded, and I like what that looks like in my mind. I feel my husband shift beside me. “He’s not paying any attention, Lord!” I pray angrily. Then I demand, “Help him to see that he needs to be yielded to You!” My attention is clearly divided between sermon and my own angry heart.

And then, I hear His voice. Clear and true, cutting through the nasty gunk of my thoughts. “Keep your hands out of My clay.” That’s all. Yet … after the words are heard in my head, they are repeated. God has literally spoken to me in the middle of the sermon—and He is definitely not talking to me about my husband’s irritating ways. No, He’s addressing me. Whoa. God doesn’t normally speak to me in such a clear and unmistakable fashion. I’m frozen and a bit shaken. The pastor continues to speak, but I have no idea what he’s saying. I’m as oblivious to his message as I had suspected my husband of being.

A picture forms in my mind’s eye: God carefully molding my husband, shaping the clay into a beautiful instrument for His glory. And there I am, elbowing my way into the scene, pushing God aside (of all the audacious, ridiculous things to do), and trying to mold the clay that is my husband myself. It’s a disaster. Tears form. Head bows. Who do I think I am? How dead is my heart that all I can think of during a sermon is how my husband should change? Do I not know the sermon applies to me? Shouldn’t I have come with a “teach me” heart?

Right there in my seat, I repent. A seismic shift has just rocked my heart. No one sitting near me has any idea. And then the verse strikes me again. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. I am that marred pot. Me. I am the one who needs changing. And the great Potter is able to do so! This time, with a genuine heart, I pray, “Shape me, dear Lord, as seems best to You and forgive me for interfering with You as you shape my husband.”

Father God, we praise You today for being the Master Potter. You know us intimately and fully. You have a plan to shape each one of us, as You know best. We yield, Lord. We yield our own lives to You—and also the lives of our loved ones. Change us, mold us, shape us for Thy good and holy purposes. In Jesus’ Name and for His glory, Amen.

You are loved,



Sweet Selah Ministries

To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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One Response to “Whose Clay Is It?”

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  1. Margaret Fowler says:

    Thanks for sharing, we all have times like that, a reminder not to be judgmental., but merciful, and looking into our own attitudes.

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